I can't tell a lie, for me Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without homemade cranberry sauce. My mom has made it for as long as I can remember so for me it is deeply ingrained in my image of fall.
When I meet people who say something like.... "Ugh, I hate cranberry sauce!" I always have to ask if they have always had the canned version and most of the time thats what they grew up with. The solid mass of red gunk with can line imprint. NOPE!
While I am sure that holds a certain nostalgic place in many hearts, we can do better. Cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things to make but people treat you like your some sort of kitchen guru when you bring fresh cranberry sauce to a meal. Thats fine, we'll let them think it was super hard!
For all the years that we have been making this,, it's really all about experimenting. The basic recipe is easy as can be.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
For each bag of Cranberries.
Rinse and sort the cranberries first then set aside.
Add sugar to water and bring to a boil stir often.
when it's boiling add the rinsed and sorted cranberries to liquid and stir every minute or so bring back to a boil and then turn heat down low
Once you hear and see the cranberries start popping you know you're in business!
Now is the time I get crazy with the experimenting and you should try whatever flavors strike you.
As you're simmering and stirring I like to add about
1 -2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. black pepper (I know this sounds weird but it cuts the sweetness and tartness in a nice way)
cook for about 10 mins or slightly more depending on how many whole berries you like in your sauce. I like more, so I try and take it off before they are all popped, but you can squish them with the back of your staring spoon if you like a smoother sauce. (Some people strain it out, but I love the chunks and skins in the sauce,, healthier that way as well.
Some people add orange zest to the top or walnuts (gross) and I have even heard of people adding a little heat to it by throwing a chili in there somewhere.... But I really keep mine pretty simple.
Remove from cooking pot and place in serving dish set aside to cool on counter and serve warm.
You can make this ahead and it keeps super well in jars, just remember to warm it in microwave before putting it out. Cold cranberry sauce can be delicious with left overs but I don't like it too cold at the real dinner... Room temperature is perfect!
Doesn't your family deserve the best?